CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (MyFoxBoston.com) -- Cambridge Police are working alongside the FBI and Secret Service to investigate the Saturday morning report of a gunman on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's campus.
Officials say the police department directly received an electronic message around 7:30 a.m. about a man inside 77 Massachusetts Avenue with a weapon.
Minutes after receiving the message, Cambridge Police's Twitter account tweeted, "02/23/13 07:28 REPORT OF POSSIBLE PERSON WITH GUN ON MASSACHUSETTS AVE IN #CAMBMA"
MIT followed up on Twitter about one hour later, tweeting, "Cambridge PD reports info of possible ind. with gun/body armor on campus. Stay clear of main group until notice."
Officers searched for a man who was supposedly carrying a long rifle and wearing body armor, but found nothing unusual, Cambridge Police said. The report — that alleged the gunman was barricaded inside a building on campus — turned out to be a hoax, and there was no threat to public safety, state police spokesman David Procopio said.
The scene was declared clear around 10:30 a.m.
Neither police nor MIT specified how the tip was received, though the police department's website says anonymous tips may be made via text message or email, in addition to a telephone hotline. Investigators are trying to identify the prankster and will pursue criminal charges if they do, police spokesman Dan Riviello said.
John DiFava, chief of MIT's campus police, acknowledged the delay in telling students about a possible gunman on campus. "I have to look into it and find out the reason for the lag," he told the Boston Globe.
Junior Zach Wener-Fligner told the newspaper that the delay was "a little worrisome."
"But I assume the relevant area was locked down," he said.
About 11,000 people attend the prestigious school outside Boston where students are famous for their smarts as well as their stunts, including once putting a police car on top of a domed campus building.
Full text of the original alert posted on MIT's website:
This morning information was received from Cambridge Police that there was a person with a long rifle and body armor in the Main Group Building of MIT. Multiple law enforcement agencies have responded. Stay indoors and shelter in place and report suspicious activity to the campus police dispatch at 617 253 1212 or dial 100 from a campus phone. More updates to follow.